Archive for November, 2012

my last post – the bare sole

11/16/2012

Thank you everyone for joining me in this journey to the end of the earth. And, of course, to the end of livin’ like a freebird.

A joyous seven-year ride, it now continues in its new form: The Bare Sole.

You can join me in this new phase a few different ways:

Again, thank you all for your continued support over the years. I hope to interact with you even more as we move on to this new phase in blogging, and in life!

Visit thebaresole.org for your official welcome on my new site!

And don’t forget, as always, to punch yourself in the face.

Much love.

the bare sole

2nd last post – reinvent yourself

11/15/2012

All things must end. And who’s to say what phoenix arises from the ashes of such endings.

Well, in this case, I’m to say. Because with the death of a theme, a brand I’ve loved and nurtured for the past seven years, it’s time for a rebirth in another form.

the process of conscious change

changeEverybody needs to periodically reinvent themselves. He who doesn’t change is either the wisest of the wise or the dullest of the dull. (I like to think I’m somewhere in between)

We are ephemeral constructs in a world constantly in flux. We are always changing, whether or not we realize it. We hear a snippet of knowledge that gives us a new perspective on politics. We learn a new fact that makes us decide to start eating organic. We stop working out and we watch how our body loses strength and functionality. We begin working out and experience a slow but noticeable increase in energy. Week to week, day to day, minute to minute, we are evolving for better or for worse.

The key here is not to fight the change, but to go along in its flow and fall into a state of conscious change. We develop an awareness of our own evolution, even if that awareness surfaces after the fact.

It’s not control we’re seeking, but the ability to effortlessly adapt without losing fluidity. When we become consciously aware of this process, we gain the power to seek out our change, or rather to become change.

reinvent yourself

The opposite of stagnancy is not progress, but evolution. They are not synonymous.

Only you, the individual, know when it is time for you to consciously reinvent yourself, to make a life-altering change. Perhaps it’s a result of some outward stimuli, some trend you’ve identified in the world around you, or some traumatic life event. Perhaps it’s in recognition of your own internal need for change. Extensive periods of stagnation have an inducing tendency in that regard.

Regardless, you will know when it is time. If you’re unsure, work on becoming more conscious, more self-aware. Intensive introspection and important conversations with close family members, friends or significant others are conducive to a higher state of self-awareness – although I’ve always found the former to be exponentially more effective. I also tend to be a more solitary person, so do what works for you.

Decide. Consciously. We must learn to flow with the ever-changing world around us while developing the ability to consciously alter that flow as necessary.

Tomorrow you will see firsthand how I have initiated my own reinvention.

How have you reinvented yourself in the past? How are you reinventing yourself now?

3rd last post – a muted death

11/14/2012

2 years, 9 months, 90 blog posts, 286 comments, 37 tags and 1 category later, I am abandoning the WordPress mutation of livin’ like a freebird in favor of a brand that more accurately depicts me. While it has been the beloved title of my blog for the past seven years, it’s time for it to change along with me.

from angry to cynical

For years I was an angry college undergrad on Blogger and used livin’ like a freebird as a sounding board to vent all my frustrations against college, against the institution, against the unfairness of it all, and against the Man (in hindsight, being on Blogger was probably why I was so angry). But then I grew up a little and realized my idealistic anger was misdirected and senseless, as I was doing nothing about it. I entered the post-grad arena and transitioned from Blogger to the wonderful world of WordPress.

Before that transition I realized I wasn’t angry anymore, but rather I had become cynical.

from cynical to open

How a 23-year-old becomes a bona fide cynic, I’m not really sure, but it happened. Thus I dubbed my blog “livin’ like a freebird: cynical realism for the common man.” And it worked. My most critical, semi-seriously-disapproving friend agreed “cynical realism” was the perfect fit.

For a time.

Over the years, as small snippets of wisdom and knowledge implanted themselves unwittingly in my brain, I began to realize I was starting to become . . . well, not cynical. I was more open, more understanding, more empathetic. I questioned rather than condemned.

It’s easy to condemn and not offer any solutions. Over the course of the past three years I recognized my own hypocrisy and my voice changed. My perspective shifted, almost without me realizing it.

And so, this blog falls to the wayside, a muted death in the eclectic blogosphere, one star winking out among thousands.

To be revived in another form this Friday, where I’ll go from open to . . . barefoot?

4th last post – top 10 blog posts

11/13/2012

And as the end of this blog begins, as stated in yesterday’s post, I reflect back on some of my most popular posts throughout the ages.

I’ve never really evaluated which of my posts were the top performers, but it’s pretty interesting when I look at the top posts and then evaluate traffic patterns and sources. Regarding the latter, some advice to fellow bloggers: use alt tags on your images.

Here are my top 10 posts that have generated the most qualified traffic over the past three years:

10.) i hate doing laundry
Pub date: June 11, 2010

I always hate looking back at old writing. Anything from a year back or more normally makes me cringe, as I’m sure one year from now this post will, too. At first I was surprised this one made it into the top 10. But then I read it again and, even though it’s poorly written, it’s a straightforward, no-B.S. talk about balance and its importance in our daily lives.

9.) one-year anniversary – why i quit my job
Pub date: July 15, 2012

Not surprised about this one – or #4. This theme resonated well with my readers, even if many of them considered me a lunatic for doing it.

8.) the luckiest cowboy
Pub date: May 24, 2012

I wrote this post in an hour after I watched the video you’ll find in the post. One of my rare overtly uplifting posts, I loved it because of its focus on love, humility and compassion. This was one of the posts that made me realize my tagline “cynical realism for the common man” was no longer appropriate for the way I viewed the world.

7.) motivational mondays – you’re gonna die
Pub date: July 25, 2011

Posts about death are always some of my personal favorites. Probably because most people find the concept morbid, while I find it enlivening. Pun intended.

6.) 10,000 hours
Pub date: Feb. 9, 2012

A fascinating concept, that it takes 10,000 hours of constant practice to master any one thing in life. My guess is this post got most of its traffic from search, given it’s awesomely optimized title. Thanks Malcolm Gladwell.

5.) the minimalists were here
Pub date: May 3, 2012

Me and the Minimalists

left to right – me, Josh, Ryan

This past May I got the opportunity to meet two of my favorite bloggers, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, when they visited Cleveland on their 33-city meet-up tour (they have another tour coming up – more info here). I summed up their visit and discussed the concept of minimalism and what it has meant to me over the years.

4.) why i quit my job
Pub date: July 3, 2011

This post represented the initiation of a new phase in my life. In June 2011 I quit my 9-5 job and made the written word the focal point of my life. My mission in life is to be a full-time writer – of everything. Including novels, magazine articles, short stories, poetry, and, of course, blogs. The next 14 months, as I discussed in my one-year anniversary post listed above, contained some of the most self-revealing experiences I’ve ever had. And I realized I didn’t like all that I saw.

3.) be like despereaux
Pub date: May 5, 2011

Are you a man or a mouse? “A mouse.” (literally)

2.) i choose anger
Pub date: July 15, 2011

Knowing when and how much to be angry is the sign of a self-disciplined, critically thinking, semi-enlightened individual.

I’m not quite there yet.

1.) creating our universe
Pub date: Sept. 9, 2012

The launching pad to instant WordPress fame (kind of), this post increased my monthly traffic by 400%, and my subscriber base by more than that. I think it resonated with the Freshly Pressed community because it spoke simply about returning to our roots and becoming like children again, appreciative of all the world around us.

And a couple other blog posts that get honorable mentions: motivational mondays – running barefoot (pub date: June 25, 2012), and it rained on her wedding day (pub date: Oct. 5, 2010).

But it’s time to start saying goodbye to livin’ like a freebird and to usher in a new era. I hope you’re as excited as I am to see where that takes us.

5th last post – the beginning of the end

11/12/2012

Seven years of bliss come crashing down amidst the boulder-strewn shores of necessary change. This is the last week of activity, and my fifth-to-last post on the notorious, the infamous, the scoundrelly blog known as livin’ like a freebird.

It was slightly bittersweeet when I was Freshly Pressed back in September, as I had been planning for this change since May. But don’t think of it so much as an end. All deaths bring some form of new life, of new beginnings.

Or as I should properly call it, given that I am in the marketing field, a rebrand . . .

the bare sole

an assault on the spirit

11/08/2012

(sorry about poor video quality)

So many people feel this assault on the spirit and believe themselves incapable of doing anything about it. They say, “This is the age we live in. Who am I to change it?” or “I’m sorry, it’s just too big of a risk.” So they drive the half-hour to work every day. They sit in their chair, they pick up their tools, sigh, and carry on, deadening their emotions to lessen the pain of being somewhere they don’t want to be for 8 hours each day, 40 hours each week. Passion is subdued for practicality, and too much practicality has a way of chipping away at the human spirit. As Chris Guillebeau says, “Balanced people don’t change the world.”

I felt this assault keenly 16 months ago. I reached a breaking point and knew immediately what I had to do. And I did it. And these past 16 months have been some of the most revealing of my life thus far, full of crippling anxieties and probing self-discoveries.

When we find our spirits assaulted, we must take some sort of action. We must adopt a life of proactivity, not one of simple reactions to outward stimuli that assault our senses, that assault our spirit, that take us out of ourselves. The best defense is a good offense, as the aphorism goes, and to simply wait for our world to change or happiness to take the place of complacency is a waste of time. We are all accountable for our emotional state and the things that happen to us. So if we don’t like where we are or what we’re doing – well, I think you can finish that statement yourself.

stay tuned next week

Stay tuned next week for an important announcement!